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Baby bottles of death: The update


A federal official this week told a Congressional committee that baby bottles that contain bisphenol A are safe to use.

What is bisphenol A? Check out these two posts (this one and this one) from April for more background, but basically it’s a chemical used in certain plastics and the National Toxicology Program issued a report (click here for a downloadable PDF) a couple months ago said it was “possibly” dangerous.

Chaos ensued, parents got rid of their baby bottles by the dozens, Canada banned such baby bottles, legislation is pending in Congress and has passed in some states banning use of the chemical in children’s products.

In short, people just flipped out.

And why not? We’re talking about our future, after all.

So this week, Dr. Norris Alderson, the Food and Drug Administration’s associate commissioner for science, told a House subcommittee that it was safe. Alderson’s background, however, is primarily in veterinary medicine, so hopefully his information is not just his opinion, but based on scientific research.

An Associated Press article reported:

Some studies had reported higher release levels than projected by the agency [FDA], but many of those studies were conducted under unrealistic conditions, he said.

“Although our review is ongoing, there’s no reason to recommend consumers stop using products with (bisphenol A),” Alderson told a House subcommittee.

Dr. Michael Babich of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also pointed out that bisphenol A is used in lots of safety products, such as helmets and goggles, and without it those products might not provide as much protection, also for children.

Naturally, someone from the other side spoke up, too: Dr. Ted Schettler, director of the Science and Environmental Health Network.

And, whichever side the science is on, he did make a compelling point:

Do we wait for irrefutable proof of harm in people before taking action?

And that’s really the issue here.

How many times have we been told something’s safe only to have it pulled later because it turns out to be far more dangerous than originally believed? (DDT, Vioxx, to name just a couple that come immediately to mind.)

When we’re talking about our children, and there are options we know to be safe (glass bottles or bottles made of materials that don’t include bisphenol A), why take the chance?

P.S. The same subcommittee also is looking at the safety of phthalates, used to make vinyl soft and flexible. It’s used in toys, cars and medical devices. Dr. Earl Gray, a toxicologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, said he was concerned about children exposed to phthalates via IV tubes. Great, so children who already have health problems could be exposed to worse ones while being treated.

There are bills pending in Congress, according to the Associated Press, that would “prohibit the manufacture and sale of certain children’s products that contain phthalates.”

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Associated Press photo by Lisa Poole of Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow and BornFree glass baby bottles, which are BPA-free.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2008 at 4:03 pm by Amy Vernon. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Category: baby bottles, Bisphenol A, bottles




About this blog
You make it, they eat it, right?

As most parents soon discover, feeding a family is rarely that easy, whether its nursing a fussy newborn or trying to get a hot meal into a squirming toddler (or attempting both at the same time.) And that's not even the days when work runs late, the main course burns, or your adventurous little sushi eater announces from now on she will only eat food that is pink.

As parents ourselves, we've been there, done that, even learned a few tricks along the way. And we're pretty sure so have you. Maybe together we can make eating together as a family -- gulp! -- fun again.

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!


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About the authors
Hema Easley Hema Easley has been a reporter for The Journal News since July 2002, first covering municipal government and then nonprofit agencies, women's issues and the South Asian and Muslim community in the Lower Hudson Valley. In her previous job, Hema was a correspondent for the Associated Press in South Asia. She lives with her husband and two sons in Orange County.
KatieKatie Ryan O'Connor, a Journal News editor and 35-year-old mother of three, never quite appreciated the work that went into feeding kids until she had to do it herself as a mother. If she had a food-and-kids philosophy it would be something like this: try your best to offer as much healthy food as possible, but sometimes fruits just have to be counted as vegetables and there are far worse things than chicken and spaghetti. Again.
TraceyTracey Princiotta, a 37-year-old mother of one, loves to cook, bake and eat, and is relieved that her son appears to be equally willing to chow down -- even if it's baby food and formula right now. Despite her husband's intense aversion to vegetables, she has high hopes of nurturing a true chowhound who will try everything at least once. And if all else fails, she's not above sneaking veggies into other foods.
Marcela Rojas Marcela Rojas has been a municipal reporter with The Journal News since January 2003. She is a native of Putnam County and grew up eating Peruvian food. She didn't realize until she was 13 that rice did not come with everyone's meal. After several years of living in Los Angeles -- where she grew a fondness for Thai food -- she returned to Putnam County where she now lives with her husband and daughter. Zyla (rhymes with Lilah) just turned 1 in March and, so far (her mother is pleased to note), loves to eat everything.
Swapna Venugopal Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, a Journal News reporter, started her career as a journalist in 1999 after graduating with a master's degree from New York University. Before joining the paper in 2006, Swapna worked as a municipal reporter for the Home News Tribune in New Jersey, and took a baby sabbatical to care for her two children, now ages 7 and 5. She has currently outsourced feeding her children and husband to her mother, who is visiting from India. Her friend and colleague Katie O'Connor, informs Swapna that she wouldn't mind being fed Indian food by her mother, too.
Randi Weiner Randi Weiner has been a reporter with The Journal News since 1989, having covered police, government and schools in Westchester and in Rockland. An Ohio native and 1976 graduate of Bowling Green State University, she worked for daily newspapers in Ohio and Michigan before moving east. She has tended bar and danced in a beledi troup and sat on the boards of two community theaters. She plays mandolin with the Shamrogues, Connecticuts largest Irish band. Randi lives in Connecticut with her husband and has three children.

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